Nima Heirati

Dr Nima Heirati

Senior Lecturer in Marketing and Deputy Head of Department
+44 (0)1483 682016
12 MS 03
Student Feedback & Consultation Hours: Available upon request on Mondays


Areas of specialism

Service Marketing; Customer Experience; Business relationships ; Service innovation and servitization; Psychological implications of Artificial Intelligence ; Business model innovation

University roles and responsibilities

  • Deputy Head of Department

    Previous roles

    Senior Lecturer in Marketing
    Queen Mary University of London
    Lecturer in Marketing
    Newcastle University


    In the media


    Research interests


    Postgraduate research supervision



    Nima Heirati, Valentina Pitardi, Mohamed Hassan (2024)When the recipe is more important than the ingredients: Unveiling the complexity of consumer use of voice assistants, In: Psychology & marketing Wiley

    The widespread use of voice assistants (VAs) creates a pressing need to understand what drives consumers to use different VAs. Existing studies have commonly focused on the net effects of antecedents that explain why consumers adopt or continue using VAs, ignoring the complexity of consumer behavior and the combinatorial effects of multiple antecedents. Our study proposes that consumer intention to continue using VAs does not depend on a single characteristic of products or consumers but on specific configurations of such characteristics. By integrating human–technology interaction and media richness theories, we suggest that consumers with distinct psychometric profiles and learning styles may evaluate humanlike and technological attributes of VAs differently. Our study shows that the complex interconnectedness between different VA attributes and consumer characteristics can provide a holistic understanding of why some consumers continue or stop using VAs. The results advance the media richness literature by offering novel insights into multi-modality in consumer–technology interactions by examining consumer evaluations of single- and multi-modal VAs (e.g., smart speakers vs. touchscreen smart speakers). Our study provides templates for managers to effectively design VAs aligned with their segmentation and targeting strategies.

    Nima Heirati, Alexander Leischnig, Stephan C Henneberg, Sabrina Thornton (2024)Capability configurations for successful advanced servitization, In: nternational Journal of Operations and Production Management Emerald

    Purpose – Advanced servitization is the process that involves the combination of different services that facilitate both the use of a product and customer operations. Although servitization has emerged as a frequent strategy for manufacturers to differentiate themselves from the competition, its implementation can pose major challenges and may not always result in superior firm performance. Consequently, successful advanced servitization may require specific organizational capabilities to unleash performance-enhancing effects. To date, little is known about how to effectively configure advanced servitization to achieve such performance gains. Design/methodology/approach – Adopting a fit theory perspective and using a configurational approach, we examine the interplay between servitization, organizational capabilities, contextual factors, and financial performance. Specifically, we focus on advanced servitization and assess its necessity and sufficiency for achieving high financial performance. In addition, we study how the alignment of servitization approaches with organizational capabilities and contextual factors affects financial performance. We analyze data from 151 manufacturers in an emerging economy using fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA). Findings – Our findings indicate that advanced servitization is sufficient, but not necessary for high financial performance. In addition, the findings indicate that the alignment of servitization approaches with specific service-related capabilities unfolds complementarity effects that contribute to achieving high financial performance for manufacturers with different firm size and competitive intensity. The findings indicate three configurations that may serve as templates for managers to orchestrate resource allocation and successfully deploy advanced servitization.Originality – Our study advances the servitization literature by further illuminating advanced servitization as a more complex servitization process. We show how high-performing manufacturers align servitization and organizational capabilities across different contexts, and thus provide design choices for managers in configuring servitization.

    Markus Blut, Nima Heirati, Klaus Schoefer (2019)The Dark Side of Customer Participation: When Customer Participation in Service Co Development Leads to Role Stress, In: Journal of Service Researchpp. 1-18 SAGE Publications

    While numerous studies have examined the benefits of customer participation (CP), understanding of the dark side of involving customers in service firms’ processes is limited. This study proposes that the changing role of customers who actively participate in service co-development can cause role stress and negative feelings, which may, in turn, reduce customer satisfaction and the perceived value of participation. We develop and test a comprehensive role theory-based framework for CP–role stress. Using a video-based experiment, behavioral lab experiment, and field study, we find that greater CP leads to heightened role stress, including role conflict, role overload, and role ambiguity. These adverse effects occur contingent on customers’ prior participation experience and firm-provided support. Furthermore, role stress effects vary across service co-development types depending on (a) the scope of the task (i.e., open task, closed task) and (b) the beneficiary of participation (i.e., customer, general market). Specifically, adverse effects are stronger for open than for closed tasks, and they also tend to be stronger when the beneficiary is the general market rather than the individual customer. These findings emphasize the need for more cross-context theorizing in CP research. Managers should consider these adverse effects and implement measures that reduce role stress.

    Nima Heirati, Aaron O'Cass (2015)Supporting new product commercialization through managerial social ties and market knowledge development in an emerging economy, In: Supporting new product commercialization through managerial social ties and market knowledge development in an emerging economy Springer

    While it has been advocated that the generation and application of market knowledge shape marketing capabilities to commercialize new products, the weak institutional environment makes access to critical market knowledge challenging in emerging economies. Critically, managerial social ties with business and political institutions may complement the firm’s market orientation (MO) to obtain market knowledge that is not available in the open market in emerging economies. This study draws attention to the differential roles of business and political ties in complementing or inhibiting the effects of market orientation on exploratory and exploitative marketing capabilities in one of the “Next Eleven” emerging economies, Iran. The results help firms operating in emerging economies to identify the conditions under which business and political ties help to overcome institutional limitations, complement market-oriented efforts, and successfully commercialize new products.

    Service innovativeness represents a key source of competitive advantage and a research priority. However, empirical evidence about how service firms successfully offer novel and meaningful services is scarce, particularly in the context of business-to-business (B2B) service firms. Drawing on the B2B collaborative perspective and KBV, we aim to investigate when customer and supplier collaboration are more beneficial to drive service novelty and meaningfulness. Using data of 186 B2B service firms, the results reveal that collaboration with customers and suppliers are not equally beneficial to drive both novelty and meaningfulness and their outcomes can be amplified or lost under specific conditions. Customer collaboration is more beneficial to increase novelty in the presence of exploratory learning and employee collaboration. Contrary, supplier collaboration drives novelty only at higher levels of exploratory learning. Further, supplier collaboration is more beneficial to improve meaningfulness at higher levels of employee collaboration. Finally, the positive outcomes of both customer and supplier collaboration disappear in the presence of knowledge tacitness. Our findings provide new insights about drivers and contingencies that affect different aspects of service innovativeness.

    Aron O'Cass, Vida Siahtiri, Nima Heirati (2020)Unlocking solution provision competence in knowledge-intensive business service firms, In: Industrial Marketing Management Elsevier

    Business services markets are very competitive and a key challenge for knowledge-intensive business service (KIBS) firms is delivering effective solutions for business customers. As solution providers, KIBS firms need to invest competencies that supports their capacity to solve customers’ problems. We examine how KIBS firms address this challenge by investigating how solution-provision competence (SPC), as a firm-level competence, contributes to the delivery of effective solutions, and how and when KIBS firms leverage SPC to transform knowledge gained from various search paths into effective solutions for customers. The results show that distal search enriches knowledge diversity, which helps foster solution-provision competence but only up to a point, after which the relationship turns negative, with distal search showing a diminishing effect on solution-provision competence. In addressing the diminishing returns of distal search to solution-provision competence, we show that higher levels of proximal search and strategic flexibility reverse the diminishing effect of high levels of distal search on solution-provision competence; however, employee collaboration did not help counter the diminishing returns (e.g., marginal benefits). Finally, we demonstrate that solutionprovision competence helps KIBS firms offer effective solutions tailored to business customers’ specific needs.

    Nima Heirati, Stephan C. Henneberg, Ansgar Richter, Roland Harste (2019)Differential Importance of Social and Economic Determinants of Relationship Performance in Professional Services, In: Industrial Marketing Management76pp. 23-35 Elsevier

    Managing business relationships successfully is critical for many professional service firms (PSFs) in order to be able to address complex client needs. Furthermore, the projectbased nature of PSFs’ work puts pressure on them to retain clients across project periods. Drawing on both net effect and configurational perspectives, this study provides a holistic understanding of the relative importance, and of the interplay of social and economic determinants of business relationship performance in the context of dynamic relationships between PSFs and their clients. Using data from 297 business clients, the results reveal that, overall, social determinants are more important than economic determinants as drivers of the client’s willingness to cooperate with a PSF in future. The importance of social determinants increases further in later relationship lifetime phases. The configurational analysis also reveals several equifinal constellations of social and economic determinants across the lifetime phases to drive a client’s willingness to cooperate in future. Therefore, no single determinant by itself is sufficient for ensuring relationship performance. We advance the literature by showing that distinct constellations of social and economic determinants are required to achieve the desired outcome, and that these constellations change across business relationship lifetime phases.

    Klaus Schoefer, Anders Wappling, Nima Heirati, Markus Blut (2019)The moderating effect of cultural value orientations on behavioral responses to dissatisfactory service experiences, In: Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services48pp. 247-256 Elsevier

    The increasing globalization of markets and the ease with which services now cross national boundaries provide a compelling reason for understanding the cultural context of service delivery and consumption. Addressing this particular issue, the current study builds upon and extends an emerging line of academic inquiry by investigating the moderating effects of cultural differences on behavioral responses to dissatisfactory service experiences. Using a cross-sectional survey design, the present study's findings indicate that culture, measured by an individual's cultural value orientation along the Hofstede dimensions of individualism/collectivism, masculinity/femininity, power distance, uncertainty avoidance and long-term/short-term orientation, has indirect effects on voice, exit, negative word-of-mouth and third-party responses. These findings have significant implications for the theory and practice of international service management.

    Purpose: This study addresses the extent that the deployment of and complementarity between marketing mix, brand management, and customer relationship management capabilities provide firms the capacity to transform their market knowledge into effective responsive actions that help to achieve new product success. Methodology: A questionnaire was used as the primary means of data collection. Data from 160 large B2B firms across a variety of industries in Iran were analyzed using partial least squares regression to test the hypothesized paths. Findings: The results show that (a) market-oriented firms are better at deploying marketing mix, brand management, and customer relationship management capabilities, and these capabilities help to drive new product performance and (b) the complementarity between these marketing capabilities enhances the firm’s capacity to achieve new product success more than deploying each capability in isolation. Contributions: In contrast to many existing studies, this study is the first to examine the role of marketing mix, brand management, and customer relationship management capabilities and their complementarity as intervening mechanisms in the relationship between MO and new product performance. Further, this study extends the marketing literature by investigating the role of different forms of marketing capabilities in a complementary fashion in the context of a Middle-Eastern economy.

    Mohammad Ali Bahreini, Ali Mobini Dehkordi, Nima Heirati, Mohammad Reza Meigounpoory (2018)The evolution of business relationships between technology-intensive new ventures and incumbents during the new product development process, In: International Journal of Innovation Management World Scientific Publishing

    This study investigates how technology-intensive new ventures shape and manage their relationships with incumbents to successfully develop new products. We undertake the dynamic views of business relationship to reveal under what conditions new ventures should emphasize more on transactional contract or alliance approach to develop their relationships with incumbents. Using longitudinal multiple case analysis, we show that transactional contract is less effective during discovery and development stages to facilitate knowledge share and collaborative learning between new ventures and incumbents. However, adopting transactional contract is essential during commercialization to strengthen the relationship, minimize the drawbacks of social bonds, and motivate both parties to engage in new projects. The results show that tensions between exchange partners are likely to increase when the incumbent is flexible to re-negotiate and share the fair benefits during the commercialization stage. Our findings provide new insights about the evolution of new ventures’ relationships with incumbents across NPD stages.

    Nima Heirati, Alexander Leischnig, Stephan C Henneberg (2023)Organization Architecture Configurations for Successful Servitization, In: Journal of Service Research SAGE Publications

    Despite the growing importance of servitization as a source of competitiveness for manufacturers, limited knowledge exists about organizational issues of servitization. Drawing on transaction cost economics theory and a configuration theoretical perspective, our study illuminates different organization architectures for servitization and how firms align such architectures with servitization approaches to achieve high financial performance. We analyze qualitative data based on interviews with 22 managers and quantitative data from a survey of 161 equipment manufacturers. The results indicate that manufacturers mostly opt for one of three organization architectures for servitization: internal product business unit, internal specialized service business unit, or external service provider. In addition, they reveal equifinal configurations of servitization characteristics to achieve high financial performance for each organization architecture. The internal specialized service business unit turns out as a flexible organization architecture to successfully provide smoothing, adapting, and substituting services. The use of an external service provider is less suited for the provision of adapting and substituting services, which require more knowledge specialization and coordination. All three organization architectures can be used to provide smoothing services. In summary, the results may serve as decision-making templates for aligning organization architecture, offering characteristics, and service provider integration to pursue servitization successfully.

    Yumeng Zhang, Alexander Leischnig, NIMA HEIRATI, Stephan C Henneberg (2021)Dark-side-effect contagion in business relationships, In: Journal of Business Research130pp. 260-270 Elsevier

    Business relationships are often a source of benefits for firms, but they can tip and unleash detrimental effects that diminish or even destroy relationship performance. Although prior studies on dark-side effects in business relationships have advanced the understanding of the phenomenon, they mainly relied on a dyadic perspective exploring single buyer–seller relationships. Yet business relationships are often parts of wider relationship portfolios and networks, and the characteristics of one relationship may have implications for other relationships. This article advances knowledge on the dark side of business relationships by introducing the concept of dark-side-effect contagion, which relies on the idea that dark-side effects can spread between business relationships. We develop a multi-level framework that accounts for inter-organizational, inter-personal, and intra-personal aspects of dark-side-effect contagion. This article contributes to the literature by extending the concept of dark-side effects in business relationships, thereby opening new lines of inquiry.

    Nima Heirati, Aaron O'Cass, Phyra Sok (2017)Identifying the resource conditions that maximize the relationship between ambidexterity and new product performance, In: Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing Emerald
    Aron O'Cass, Nima Heirati, Lem Viet Ngo (2014)Achieving new product success via the synchronization of exploration and exploitation across multiple levels and functional areas, In: Industrial Marketing Management43pp. 862-872 Elsevier

    While ambidexterity has been identified as a critical prerequisite for new product success, synchronizing exploration and exploitation in practice represents a multifaceted enigma. Ambidexterity is not in reality limited to a single organizational level, or a specific functional area. Firms become ambidextrous when corporate-level exploratory and exploitative strategies interact with operational-level exploratory and exploitative capabilities across multiple functional areas. Data from a sample of technology-intensive industrial firms using a multi-informant design shows that operational-level exploratory and exploitative product innovation and marketing capabilities allow firms to implement corporate-level exploratory and exploitative strategies in the context of new product development (NPD). Further, the findings reveal that the integration of exploratory product innovation-exploratory marketing and exploitative product innovation-exploitative marketing are significant for the implementation of exploratory and exploitative strategies over deploying each capability in isolation. Finally, we show that the implementation of exploratory and exploitative strategies drives new product success through creating distinct positional advantages to customers in the form of both differentiation and cost efficiency. These positional advantages help to better explain the effects of exploratory and exploitative capabilities on new product market performance.

    Nima Heirati, Aron O'Cass, Liem Viet Ngo (2020)The contingent value of marketing and social networking capabilities in firm performance, In: Journal of Strategic Marketing Taylor and Francis

    Recent research shows a continued interest by scholars in understanding the extent that firms develop and deploy marketing capability in an effort to enhance their market- and financial-performance. In conjunction with the marketing literature, relational governance scholars suggest that social networks can provide access resources and knowledge required to perform business activities which assist in achieving performance objectives. Yet, the literature is almost silent about the extent that social networks assist market oriented firms in their efforts to develop superior marketing capability to enhance performance. The findings from a survey of 160 firms in an emerging Middle Eastern economy show that market oriented firms are better at developing and deploying marketing capability when the levels of business, political, and academic ties are high.

    Nima Heirati, Aron O'Cass, Klaus Schoefer, Vida Siahtiri (2015)Do professional service firms benefit from customer and supplier collaborations in competitive, turbulent environments?, In: Industrial Marketing Management55pp. 50-58 Elsevier

    Although recent research on business-to-business professional service firms (PSFs) emphasizes the role and consequences of collaboration with business partners, we know little regarding the conditions under which bright-side benefits of PSF interfirm collaboration turn into dark-side drawbacks. Our study shows that customer and supplier collaborations have both bright and dark sides, and their benefits with respect to helping a PSF to drive service performance are contingent on the levels of the environmental competition and turbulence. In particular, we show that increasing levels of competitive intensity and environmental turbulence encountered by a PSF can diminish the capacity of customer and supplier collaborations to drive service performance. When the level of competitive intensity increases, the benefits of customer collaboration become more positive; however, the dark-side of supplier collaboration becomes more pronounced, which negatively influences service performance. When the level of environmental turbulence increases, the dark-side of customer and supplier collaborations becomes more critical and the benefits derived from interfirm collaboration to promote service performance can be lost.

    Additional publications